Sunday, July 1, 2007

Our wedding in review, Chapter One

Being that this is the last week of the first year of my marriage, I thought I would harness the power of the Internet and repost a few blogs I had posted on my nearly-defunct Myspace (ugh!) page, with a few comments following. This was posted in early January 2006 after we had returned from our winter vacation.
Yep... I proposed to my girlfriend Jen, now fiance. She'd kill me if I didn't tell the WHOLE story, so here goes.

Last Sunday (Christmas) we left for Stamford, CT, to visit Jen's family. We were to be staying with her grandmother, and visiting her aunt, uncle, and cousins; and friends from school and work, as she'd grown up there (until she was 11, she moved to NC) and stayed there for a year or two in 2000-2001 when her grandmother was sick. I had gotten an oil change and had everything checked out right before the trip (Friday the 23rd as a matter of fact), but we were about 25 miles from Delaware (taking I-95 all the way) when my battery light came on, electrical went out, and the car eventually died.

We were in the middle of nowhere without a cell phone, but we didn't have to wait long. Maryland State Patrol was there within 10 minutes. (Luckily it was enough time for me and Jen's brother-in-law to steal a bathroom break in the woods nearby!) The cop was totally cool, very helpful; we told him what happened, and he called a tow truck. He actually had to call a second cop in addition to his own car and the tow truck to carry all the people who were travelling with us... and riding in the cop car was really casual. No divisor shield, and the back doors opened from the inside. (The first cop was a K-9 unit, so he only had one seat available.) They took us through a toll and to a rest stop/service area called the Chesapeake House in the town (area, actually) called "North East, Maryland". It may have been a town, but all we saw was the service area* and an Exxon gas(petrol) station. (*In the northeast US, they have service areas... kinda like airports... a few restaurants, a gift shop, all overpriced... and open 24/7.) We were talking to the tow truck driver and the cop, and he was saying how even if you check for everything, even if you plan for everything, stuff still happens, and you just have to ride the flow. Remember that...

So we're staying at this service area in the dining area of a Popeyes Chicken... me, Jen, her sister, her sister's boyfriend, and their two boys. The boys were on one bench under blankets and sleeping, and the adults took turns taking walks. They smoke, we don't. We got there around 3am... around 6am we're going for a walk, and Jen keeps asking me what's wrong. When I'm really thinking, she thinks I look upset, but I wasn't, I was just thinking. So I told her that I couldn't get that out of my head, that bit about stuff still happening and you just have to roll with it... I then told her how I was first planning to propose to her on her birthday, then in my impatience, it was gonna be at her grandmother's place in the room she stayed in when she was a kid. But since we were stranded, I admitted that I really didn't know for sure where we'd be the next day or the day after that... but it didn't change the fact that she's the most important thing that ever happened to me, and I wanted to make it official. I didn't have a ring, but that didn't stop me... I asked her to marry me, right there in the rain, with $4 and change in my pocket, our car broke down, and not knowing what was gonna happen. And she said yes... and for the past week I've been floating in the clouds.

To make a LONG story short, we waited until the Exxon service station opened, got our battery charged (but the alternator was dead) and were able to drive to Sears in Newark, Delaware, where Jen used her grandmother's Sears card (with permission, of course) to get a new alternator, belts, and the labor to put it on. We left Sears around 4:30-5:00, so we were "down" for a good 14 hours or so! But once we got going, we were right on into Jersey, on the turnpike, stopped in NYC for a good hour waiting to get on the George Washington Bridge... and from there it was smooth sailing up into Stamford, CT (home of the WWE HQ for all you wrestling fans out there!).

To make an even longer story short, we had a great time in CT. I took Jen to see Narnia (well, she paid), we met a bunch of her friends, her family was really cool and welcomed me to the family, and I taught her cousins (girls, 11 and 16) how to use Firefox, Wikipedia, IMDb, Google Earth, and a few other wonders of the Internet. The trip back was largely uneventful. We took an exit in NYC we weren't supposed to... in the Bronx no less, around midnight, but got back on I-95. At the beginning of the Jersey turnpike, I accidentally took the FastTrak lane and had to park, go into the office, and get a ticket (and get laughed at by the guy inside)... come back out and there's a cop there... but he was cool when I told him what happened, sent us on our way. Both ways, I drove the whole way, except for letting Jen's sister drive for an hour on the turnpike on the way there when I got a cramp from Hell, and letting Jen drive into her hometown to her grandma's house. The WHOLE way back, I drove, with two stops for gas. 10.5 hours behind the wheel, practically straight, from Stamford, CT, to Chocowinity, NC. Freakin long drive.

Anyway, we've set the wedding date as 7 July 2006. It was going to be 7 July no matter what year; I first asked her out in a private message on the Disturbed board on 7 July 2003, so that's an anniversary for us. I was kinda hoping to land 7/7/07 (how cool would that be?) but I can't wait. Well, I guess we could, but we don't want to. She was raised Catholic, but doesn't practice anymore. I'm somewhere between atheism and agnosticism... let's just not go there, OK? So a religious wedding is out - neither of us care to be blessed by any God or priest, just those who love us. What I'm thinking is just going to the courthouse and getting the marriage certificate/contract/license taken care of, and having a "small" reception with family at the waterfront. We want a small party, but I don't care much about a whole drawn-out ceremony. Neither of our families have any kind of money - we're all poor, but we're not materialistic, either. So I'm thinking we'll either have a small nondenominational ceremony at the waterfront, or just do the court thing and have a reception with family.

We also want a second reception with friends. This one will have louder music, younger people, and will be more of a "party". Because we met online, we're inviting just about everyone we know from our board, and from the Disturbed board, even people from other countries. We know they may not be able to make it, but sometimes it's cool just to get the actual invite in the mail, something you can keep... and we've had a lot of people from a lot of places cheering us on, from when we first met, to when I moved across the country to be with her, people who will probably send us death threats if we don't at least invite them. This is a first for both of us, and if anyone wants to offer any advice on getting married, ceremonies, receptions, parties, traditions, whatever... feel free to post here or by PM... we need all the advice we can get... but ultimately we're gonna do it our way. We're treading pretty much uncharted territory, having met online and all. There really is no set standard, or established tradition... short of blog posts and other unofficial stuff. But I mean... even if you know you can't make it, if you want an invite, we'll send you one, and you can say someone you met online got married to someone he met online, and you were invited. If it were any of you, I'd sure as hell want an invite!
Well, that was our winter vacation in 2005. We returned to Stamford in 2006, but then as husband and wife. Winter vacation '07 will come a month early (late November this time) and to California to see my own family.

Stay tuned for the next chapter... (which may or may not be the next post, but it will come.)

PS: Thirty-seven? If you're a fan of film director/writer Kevin Smith, you'll know what I'm referring to. But really, this is my 37th blog post. 37 started as something rude in his first movie, but became sort of a staple in the others. 37 is to Kevin Smith what 47 is to Star Trek, so to speak.

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